BI intercepts suspected human trafficking victim at NAIA

Robie de Guzman   •   March 10, 2020   •   306

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Tuesday said its personnel at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) have rescued a suspected human trafficking victim attempting to depart the country.

In a statement, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said the female passenger was intercepted at the NAIA Terminal 1 on March 6 while she was attempting to board a flight to Singapore.  

Morente said the victim, whose name was withheld for her protection, was initially referred for verification to the on-duty immigration supervisor, as she attempted to enter the airport departure area.

“The supervisor noticed that the stamps on the passenger’s passport and boarding pass were spurious. Upon further verification, they have discovered that the stamp used was not a registered stamp,” he said.

The passenger later confessed that she did not undergo immigration inspection, and that she was intending to travel to Dubai for work under a job application with a certain agent named “Rency”.

“She was instructed to meet the agent at a fast food chain in the airport’s departure area. The agent got a hold of her passport and boarding pass, and gave them back to her with fake stamps,” BI Intelligence Division Chief Fortunato Manahan, Jr. said.

Manahan added that human traffickers would affix fake stamps in the passengers’ passports and boarding passes, so that their victims, when asked by authorities, could pretend they have already undergone the required immigration departure formalities.

“Since human traffickers could not provide the passengers with proper documents to work abroad, this is their cheap attempt to get their victims to evade immigration inspection,” he said.

The victim has been endorsed to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking for proper assistance in filing a criminal complaint against her recruiter, the BI said.

The bureau also reiterated its advise for the public to only transact with registered and licensed recruitment agencies to avoid falling prey to illegal recruiters.

Undeclared watches, commercial goods worth P1.1-M seized at NAIA – BOC

Robie de Guzman   •   July 2, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Various branded watches and other commercial goods estimated to worth P1.1 million were seized at the port of Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), the Bureau of Customs (BOC) said Thursday.

In a statement, the BOC said the undeclared items were confiscated on June 29. These were part of a consolidated shipment from the United States of America labeled as “personal effects.”

The seized goods include branded watches such as Michael Kors, Fossils, Anne Klein, Charriol, Invicta, Kate Spade, Diesel and Tommy, as well as bags, wallets, shoes — all in commercial quantity, the bureau said.

The items were intercepted after the shipment underwent X-Ray inspection.

The BOC-NAIA said it has issued a Warrant of Seizure and Detention against the confiscated goods for violation of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.

The bureau added the case records shall also be referred to the Bureau’s Action Team Against Smugglers (BATAS) for a possible criminal complaint against the personalities behind the foiled smuggling attempt.

PH Immigration deports 10 more illegal aliens

Robie de Guzman   •   June 30, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Tuesday said it has deported 10 more illegal aliens detained at its warden facility in Taguig City.

In a statement, the BI said the 10 foreigners include eight Chinese nationals and two Mongolians.

They departed from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport via separate flights bound for China last June 19, 24 and 25.

“All of them have been placed on the immigration blacklist of undesirable aliens upon orders of our board of commissioners. Thus, they are now banned from re-entering the Philippines,” BI port operations chief Grifton Medina said.

It was learned that five of the Chinese deportees are wanted in their country for economic crimes due to their involvement in illegal online gaming operations and telecom fraud.

The three other Chinese nationals were deported for overstaying and committing fraud and misrepresentation, while the two Mongolians are alleged female sex workers caught in one of the raids of prostitution dens in Metro Manila last year.

According to Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente, the deportation was carried out as part of the bureau’s efforts to decongest and prevent the spread of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at its detention facility located in Camp Bagong Diwa.

“We will continue to send home these foreign inmates once they have been issued deportation orders and provided they have no pending criminal cases in court,” Morente said.

“We are doing this to safeguard the health not only of the foreign detainees but also that of our personnel assigned to our warden facility,” he added.

The BI earlier reported it had deported seven Chinese nationals who are facing charges for economic crimes and illegal black sand mining.

BI: 16,000 foreign, Filipino seafarers cleared at Manila port

Robie de Guzman   •   June 26, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – More than 16,000 Filipino and foreign seafarers from cruise ships that arrived and anchored at the Manila Bay have been processed and cleared during the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) said Friday.

In a statement, the BI said a total of 16,287 sailors were cleared by boarding inspectors – 11,189 of which are Filipinos while 5,098 are foreign nationals.

The bureau said they disembarked from 42 vessels between April 16 to June 15 after undergoing quarantine and getting tested aboard their ships.

The BI added that around 2,300 seafarers remain quarantined aboard their vessels.

Repatriated Filipino seafarers are immediately transported to their places of residence through the help of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration.

Foreign seafarers, on the other hand, are only allowed to disembark upon presentation of a confirmed outbound plane ticket to their country of origin. Immigration personnel will escort them to the airport on the date and time of their scheduled departure, the agency said.

Foreign sailors with Filipino spouses are also allowed to disembark and join their families, provided that they submit a letter-request, marriage certificate, photocopy of passport of Filipino spouse, negative COVID-19 swab test result, and endorsement from the Department of Foreign Affairs, the bureau added.

The BI also shared that last June 11, a group of 122 Sri Lankan seafarers were repatriated to their homeland at the request of their embassy in Manila.

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